Monday, 21 September 2015

Back to School

Back to School

As promised, more about school, but I won’t be covering everything as it has been such a hectic week. 

I had to introduce myself to the students at an assembly on Monday.  Of course, I attempted my introduction in Chinese, which may have been a little foolhardy.  The combination of a malfunctioning microphone and my horrendous Chinese must have sounded like gobbledygook.  The students may still be wondering who I am.  After the excitement of facing a sea of young Taiwanese faces at assembly, the rest of Monday passed rather sedately and monotonously.

Tuesday, it turns out, is badminton day.  But before I made it to badminton last Tuesday, I had to make a few presentations for the first years and second years.  A general introduction about myself for the first years and my old school schedule for the second years.  It is a group of teachers, including Kwung Rong, who play badminton, and since I am now a teacher (strictly speaking a teaching assistant), I am invited along.  It turns out that Thursday is also badminton day so at least I know that I shall be doing some exercise and losing a few pounds – I haven’t played sport in this temperature and humidity before and some of the players like to make me run.  

So, my routine is falling into place…I think.  But then again, the weekend is not predictable.  No regular Saturday morning hockey for me following Mr Leonard’s instructions to the letter.  Yesterday was much more interesting (no offence Mr Leonard).  The only drawback was a horrifically early wake up at six o'clock - I had rather impetuously agreed to participate in a school trip to an aquarium.  We took a coach there, wherever ‘there’ is – I fell asleep on the bus!  All I know is that we went south.   And the day was well worthwhile – amongst other things, I learned about turtle reproduction and that the whale shark is the largest fish in the sea.

Returning to school at 6pm was not the end of the day.  Far from it!  I was met by Yuying Feng, her husband and son and two other teachers from Jhong Siao, who took me for dinner in a restaurant on the side of a mountain.  You can see the assembled group with delicious hot pot in the foreground and the beautiful view of Tainan in the background.


Sunday morning was a bit more reasonable.  Yuying and her husband picked me up from the house at 10am.  They had plans for me.  First we went to a sausage museum.  I didn’t know there was such a thing, but there should be more of them, because they provide yummy samples.  (And before you ask, yes I have put on weight.)  Then we went to An Ping for some more food! This time it came in the form of "An Ping Bean Jelly", which is palatable due to the accompanying lemon syrup.  Stop three was an old sugar factory.  I'm afraid I can't tell you where it is - I fell asleep in the car.  I think I may still have jetlag.   

In case you think that was all the eating for the day, we still hadn’t reached lunchtime.  We met an ex-English teacher from the school and ate rice and beef at a restaurant for lunch.  

Our final stop was in a remote area (you’ve guessed it - I don’t know where it was) where I was hounded by mosquitoes and came away with 12 bites in total, which is a little worrying when there is a dengue fever outbreak at the moment.  We were visiting to sample the mangoes for which the area is famous.  They even have a statue of a giant mango to reflect its importance.  I have to say they were probably the best mangoes I have ever tasted. 

So, that’s my brief recap of the last 7 days.  Back to school tomorrow to share some English language with the students.  And I’ll try to supply some geographic information next time I report!

20 September 2015

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